Starting a Business at Twenty

I finished High School in 2014.

I went to prom, completed my GCSE’s and went to results day.

*Most* of the people I was surrounded by during school were fine with the idea of exams, didn’t stress and most of the time, were over the moon with their results giving them a ticket into their next stage in life.

This wasn’t quite the case with me.

I found the last two years of high school particularly hard and for a while, I couldn’t quite understand why. Throughout years 7, 8 and 9 I enjoyed school, loved spending time with my friends and despite not thoroughly enjoying every subject I had – I felt no pressure. However, approaching year 10 I started to feel my first burst of anxiety and pressure. This was new to me and for the first few months, I felt so odd and almost abnormal in a way. I didn’t tell any of my friends that I felt anxious, as I was afraid people would judge me or not quite understand – giving that I didn’t know anyone in my close circle struggling with the same issues. I realised my “panicky moments” and horrendous anxiety stemmed from exams. It started out that I would simply worry about the exam and then during my time to complete it, started to forget my revision as I was concentrating so hard on not freaking out.

Fast forward to results day and to cut it short, my results weren’t quite what I wanted. They weren’t by any means terrible or something to be ashamed of – however me being me, put a ton of pressure on myself to get the best of the best.

This threw me off completely.

All of my friends seemed to know what they wanted to do, and more importantly at the time – knew what college they were going to attend and what subjects they were going to take.

This is when I fell into film.

I am a massive believer of “everything happens for a reason” and still to this day, believe that although at the time I was so upset, my results lead me onto a path that I am so incredibly happy in. A path that allows me to be creative every moment of the day, allows me to tell stories and portray emotions through content I create and more importantly – an industry that I have settled on doing for the rest of my life.

I was 15, with my results in my hand and unsure of where to go from there.

Fast forward, and I chose a college away from the rest of my friendship group – which was a little weird at first – but I soon found it easy. This is where I fell into Film Production. The college I chose to go too wasn’t a sixth form, it was a college / university where you could study more “niche” subjects.

My chosen course was a diploma in Creative Media Production, and after a couple of weeks of studying – I soon realised that this was my calling in life.

Fast forward a little more, four years down the line and I have graduated from University in Bristol with a BA Honors in Filmmaking. After utilising University not only as a place of study, but a time where during the months I had off where other students would get drunk and spend most of their remaining funds on going out, I travelled. A lot.

In the three years I studied, I travelled to Sydney, Brisbane, Amsterdam, Iceland, Toronto, Vancouver, Whistler, New York, Washington, Atlanta, Orlando, Miami and Barbados in between semesters. And whilst travelling to each of these places, I began documenting my travels through photography and film to eventually come to the end of my time at University with hard drives full of footage and my mind set on starting my own Film Production Business.

I’m not going to beat around the bush – at 20 years old – this is hard. Really hard. But made much easier with my two best-friends either side of me.

The company officially began in May of this year, now 21 the business has been going around seven months. Like anything, there are positives and negatives to everything you do in life – however it became apparent to me that I find there are far more positives to this job than down sides.

Dealing with no boss

This sounds like a dream. Its is, in some ways. Essentially you have nobody telling you what you can and can’t do, you can take a holiday whenever you feel like it and in my position – I’m working alongside my two colleagues which happen to be two of the hardest working people I have ever met.

However, the “no boss thing” comes at a cost. Something I found particularly hard in the first few months wasn’t anything to do with the admin side of work, but more with finding motivation each day to get out of bed and to work your arse off – to put it bluntly. It isn’t easy. In the first few months, years, whatever it may be – money won’t be the best. Especially in the film business, you need to be prepared to do a lot of free work simply for the experience or as a piece to add to your showreel for little or no money. Doing this everyday and knowing you aren’t making as much as you’d like can be hard. You need to find that tiny ounce of motivation inside of you and grasp onto it everyday in order of pushing yourself. At the end of the day, if you don’t work – you won’t get paid. As simple as. You need to be searching for work everyday, updating your portfolio, connecting with other people – doing everything you can to push yourself and your business.

It will pay off and I promise you’ll end up better off in the long run.

Setting rules

You need to be strict.

There are no two ways about this. Being strict and setting rules is simply part of growing your business to the biggest and most successful company it can be. Rules can be anything from setting scheduled “working hours” as I’m guessing when you first start out – you are going to be working from home. A tip I would like to give is if possible, try not to make your working space your bedroom. Try and keep your bedroom as your bedroom. A place where you sleep, relax and take time out from work. I was very lucky in the sense that I was able to move away from home immediately, and work in a large office space that enabled us to be as creative as possible.

Try and get together an “office space”, whether this be at the kitchen table, in an office or on your sofa. Having set places in the house will help you to separate your sociable hours from your working hours.

Finding inspiration

Outside of your working hours – you should adopt a habit of finding inspiration all the time. Whether this be through social platforms or by getting outside and seeing new work – inspiration is key.

For me, I definitely use Instagram as a form of inspiration and as a form of motivation to work harder. Following people that you aspire to be like, or people that produce work you love will allow you to feel a constant sense of urge to better your work. I love this feeling.

All in all, starting your own business, properly, is a massive learning curve. I still at times, find it extremely difficult but in the long run and with the dreams I have – starting my own company may be one of the best decisions I have ever made. It’s tough, but you’ll get through it. Stay focused and keep your eyes on a goal.

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*Disclaimer*

All opinions written within this post are my own. All photography was taken by myself. To book for Videography or Photography, please visit my website http://www.chandlermedia.co.uk 

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